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The Polyvagal Theory in Therapy
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About the Author

Deb Dana, LCSW is a clinician and consultant specializing in working with complex trauma and is the Coordinator of the Kinsey Institute Traumatic Stress Research Consortium. She developed the Rhythm of Regulation Clinical Training Series and lectures internationally on ways in which Polyvagal Theory informs work with trauma survivors. Stephen W. Porges, PhD, is Distinguished University Scientist at Indiana University, where he directs the Trauma Research Center within the Kinsey Institute. He holds the position of Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina and Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Maryland. He served as president of both the Society for Psychophysiological Research and the Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences and is a former recipient of a National Institute of Mental Health Research Scientist Development Award. He has published more than 250 peer-reviewed scientific papers across several disciplines including anaesthesiology, biomedical engineering, critical care medicine, ergonomics, exercise physiology, gerontology, neurology, neuroscience, obstetrics, pediatrics, psychiatry, psychology, psychometrics, space medicine, and substance abuse. In 1994 he proposed the Polyvagal Theory, a theory that links the evolution of the mammalian autonomic nervous system to social behavior and emphasizes the importance of physiological state in the expression of behavioral problems and psychiatric disorders. The theory is leading to innovative treatments based on insights into the mechanisms mediating symptoms observed in several behavioral, psychiatric, and physical disorders. In 2018, Dr. Porges received the Pioneer Award from the United States Association for Body Psychotherapy.

Reviews

Deb Dana's gift for language invites us to enter the Polyvagal Theory cognitively and experientially. As we deepen into awareness of its importance for our clinical endeavors, she then guides us in developing processes that help us identify and influence the ebb and flow of the autonomic nervous system in ourselves and our clients. Rich in experiential practices, this book offers a much-needed concrete roadmap for every practitioner.--Bonnie Badenoch, PhD, LMFT, author of The Heart of Trauma: Healing Our Embodied Brains in the Context of Relationship
Deb Dana has written the definitive guide to integrating the concepts, maps, language and applications of polyvagal theory into any therapeutic modality. Working with the regulation of a client's nervous system through the power of the polyvagal lens guides clinicians to interventions with trauma survivors that are immediately and reliably effective in teaching clients to manage their survival responses and recover safety in connection. This clear and comprehensive book is much needed and very much welcomed.--Linda Graham, MFT, author of Bouncing Back: Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being
Polyvagal theory has been a godsend for trauma therapists and survivors alike, helping them understand symptoms and reactions that had been mysterious and uncontrollable. Until now, however, therapists lacked a method for putting PT into practice. With this well-written book, Deb Dana not only explains the theory clearly but also offers therapists practical steps for helping survivors remain regulated.--Richard C. Schwartz, PhD, Developer of the Internal Family Systems Model of psychotherapy
[M]akes for essential reading. In addition to a thorough exposition of the theory, The Polyvagal Theory in Therapy offers practical steps and tools to help clients reshape their automatic nervous systems.
[O]ffers a window into the inner life of a traumatized person and a way out of trauma and back into finding joy, connection, and safety through enlightening theory, rich experiential practice, and practical steps.
[M]akes the Polyvagal theory accessible and provides numerous examples of how to implement the theory into clinical work. Beginning therapists especially will find the book helpful with its many suggested maps and methods for using the theory. . . . Advanced therapists not familiar with the Polyvagal theory or with the nervous system in general will appreciate this.

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